The U.S. middle class has always had a special mystique.
It is the heart of the American dream. A decent income and home, doing better than one's parents, and retiring in comfort are all hallmarks of a middle-class lifestyle.
Contrary to what some may think, however, the U.S. has not always had a large middle class. Only after World War II was being middle class the national norm. Then, starting in the 1980s, it began to decline.
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President Donald Trump has portrayed the tax plan Congress is wrapping up as a boon for the middle class. The sad reality, however, is that it is more likely to be its final death knell.
To understand why, you need look no further than the history of the rise and decline of the American middle class, a group that I've been studying through the lens of inequality for decades.